New York lawmakers introduce sustainability requirements for the fashion industry

Last week, New York lawmakers announced a bill to impose sustainability reporting requirements on the fashion industry. If passed, the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act would generally require large fashion retailers to map their supply chains, make various disclosures on their websites, and commit to reducing their environmental impact.

The law would apply broadly to retailers and fashion manufacturers with over $ 100 million in gross income doing business in New York City. These companies should make good faith efforts to map a minimum of 50% of their suppliers by volume to all levels of production, from raw material to final production. Based on this exercise, companies should disclose certain information on their websites, including:

  • Supply chain mapping and disclosure, with information on the company’s suppliers.
  • An impact and due diligence disclosure, including a social and environmental sustainability report, with information on policies and due diligence activities carried out to identify, prevent and mitigate potential negative impacts, including findings and results of these activities.
  • A disclosure of impact on priority negative environmental and social impacts within 18 months of the promulgation of these policies, including information on greenhouse gas emissions, volume of materials produced, recycling efforts, median wages of priority supplier workers and the company’s approach to incentivize supplier performance on workers’ rights.
  • Disclosure of business goals for impact reduction and monitoring of due diligence implementation and results, including estimated timelines and benchmarks for improvement.

If enacted, the law would be enforced by the New York attorney general and would include a private right of action, allowing New York citizens to bring civil suits to enforce compliance with the law. Businesses that fail to comply can be fined up to 2% of annual revenues of $ 450 million or more. The money generated by the sanctions would fund projects intended to benefit New York’s environmental justice communities.

While activists (and even some in the fashion industry) have expressed support for the bill, there is no doubt that companies will need to spend a lot of time, money and effort on compliance. , and that they will be required to disclose information (such as lists of suppliers) that they might otherwise consider confidential.

We are following the evolution of this legislation and will publish the main developments here.

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